VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Clem Labine, a relief pitcher who threw two of baseball's most significant shutouts in his role as a part-time starter and pitched for two Dodgers World Series championship teams in the 1950s, died Friday. He was 80.
Labine had been in a coma at Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach for more than a week following brain surgery to explore a mass in his head, the team announced, and hospital spokeswoman Kim Leach-Wright confirmed his death.
Labine was hospitalized Feb. 13 because of pneumonia, shortly after completing a stint as an instructor at an adult "fantasy camp" at the Dodgers' training camp.
Labine spent 13 seasons in the major leagues
, mostly as a bullpen specialist with the Dodgers, first in Brooklyn and then in Los Angeles. He also pitched with Detroit and Pittsburgh, and briefly for the New York Mets.
In 1951, Labine was thrust into the three-game National League pennant playoff between the Dodgers and New York Giants. After the Giants won the opener, Brooklyn had no regular starter available for Game 2. Labine got the assignment by default and threw a six-hit shutout to keep the Dodgers alive in the best-of-three series. Bobby Thomson's ninth-inning home run won the pennant for the Giants the next day.
Labine would throw another shutout, allowing just seven hits in Game 6 of the 1956 World Series and beating the New York Yankees 1-0 in 10 innings to force a seventh game, which the Yankees won. That shutout came a day after Don Larsen's perfect game, the only no-hitter in World Series history.
Labine grew up in Woonsocket, R.I., and volunteered for the paratroopers during World War II.
In 1955, Labine enjoyed his best season, leading the league with 60 appearances and going 13-5, with 10 victories and 11 saves out of the bullpen. The Dodgers captured their first World Series that year with Labine winning Game 4 with 4 1-3 innings of relief and coming back the next day to pitch three more innings and save Game 5.
Labine accompanied the Dodgers on the move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958 and was with the team when it won the World Series in 1959.
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